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that sensation, which constitutes our feeling of resistance. We give the name of hardness to this common property of the external objects; and our mere feeling of resemblance, when referred to the resembling objects, is thus converted into an abstraction. If we are capable of feeling the resemblance, the abstraction is surely already formed, and needs, therefore, no other power to produce it.
To that principle of relative suggestion, by which we feel the resemblance of objects in certain respects, to the exclusion, consequently, of all the other circumstances, in which they have no resemblance, by far the greater number of our abstractions, and those which most commonly go under that name, may, in this manner, be traced; since, in consequence of this principle of our mind, we are almost incessantly feeling some relation of similarity in objects, and omitting, in consequence, in this feeling of resemblance, the parts or circumstances of the complex whole, in which no similarity is felt. What is thus termed abstraction, is the very
notion of partial similarity. It would be as impossible to regard objects as similar in certain respects, without having the conceptions termed abstract, as to see, without vision, or to hope without desire. The capacity of the feeling of resemblance, then, is the great source of the conceptions termed abstract. Many of them, however, may be referred, not to that susceptibility of the mind, by which our relative suggestions arise, but to that other susceptibility of suggestions of another kind, which we previously considered. In those common instances of simple suggestion, which philosophers have ascribed to a principle of association, they never have thought it necessary to prove, nor have they even contended, that the feelings which arise in consequence of this mere association, must be exact transcripts of the former feelings in every respect, however complex these former feelings may have been; that, when we have seen a groupe of objects together, no part of this groupe can be recalled, without the rest-no rock, or streamlet, of a particular valley, for example, without every tree, and every branch of every tree, that were seen by us, waving over the little current, and every minute angle of the rock, as if measured with geometrical precision. Suggestions of images, so exact as this, perhaps never occur; and if every conception, therefore, which mects some circumstance of the complex perception, which
bas given rise to it, be the result of a faculty, which is to be termed the faculty of abstraction, the whole imagery of our thought, which has been ascribed to an associating or suggesting principle, should have been considered rather as the result of this power, in its never ceasing operation. But, if we allow, that in ordinary association, the principle of simple suggestion can account for the rise of conceptions, that omit some circumstances of the past, it would surely be absurd to attempt any limitation of the number of circumstances which may be omitted, by the operation of this principle alone, and to refer every circumstance that is omitted beyond this definite number, to another faculty, absolutely distinct. The truth is, that it is only of certain parts of any complex perception, that our simple suggestions, in any case, are transcripts,that the same power, which thus, without any effort of our volition, and even without our consciousness, that such a suggestion is on the point of taking place, brings before us, only three out of four circumstances, that coexisted in some former perception, might as readily be supposed to bring before us two of the four, or only one and that the abstraction, in such a case, would be thus as independent of our will, as the simple suggestion ; since it would be, in truth, only the simple suggestion, under another Dame, being termed an abstraction, merely because, in certain cases, we might be able to remember the complex whole, with the circumstances omitted in the former partial suggestion, and thus to discover, by comparison of the two coexisting conceptions, that the one is to the other, as a whole to some part of the whole. If this comparison could be made by us in every case, there is not a single conception, in our whole train of memory or fancy, which would not equally deserve to be denominated an abstraction.
Many of the states of mind, which we term abstractions, might thus arise by mere simple suggestion, though we had not, in addition to this capacity, that susceptibility of relative suggestion, by which we discover resemblance, and to which, certainly, we are indebted for the far greater number of feelings, which are termed abstract ideas. The partial simple suggestion of the qualities of objects, in our trains of thought, is less wonderful, when we consider how our complex notions of objects are formed. In conceiving the hardness separately from the whiteness of an object, we have no feeling that is absolutely new; we only repeat the
process by which our conceptions of these qualities were originally formed. We received them separately, through the medium of different senses; and each, when it recurs separately, is but the transcript of the primary separate sensation.
But even though objects, as originally perceived, had been precisely, in every respect, what they now appear to us,-concretes of many qualities—the capacity of relative suggestion, by which we feel the resemblances of objects, would be of itself, as I have said, sufficient to account for the abstractions, of which philosophers have written so much. It is superfluous, therefore, to ascribe to another peculiar faculty what must take place, if we admit only the common mental susceptibilities, which all admit. If we are capable of perceiving a resemblance of some sort, when we look at a swan and on snow, why should we be astonished that we have invented the word whiteness, to signify the common circumstance of resemblance ? Or why should we have recourse for this feeling of whiteness itself to any capacity of the mind, but that which evolves to us the similarity which we are acknowledg. ed to be capable of feeling ?
Whatever our view of the origin of these partial conceptions may be, however, the truth of the generat negative argument, at least, must be admitted, that we have no power of singling out, for particular consideration, any one part of a complex group; since, in the very intention of separating it from the rest, we must already bave singled it out in our will, and consequently, in our thought; and that we do not need any new operation, therefore, to conceive, what we must have conceived before the supposed operation itself could take place.
I have now, then, brought to a conclusion my analysis of the intellectual phenomena ; and have shown, I flatter myself, or, at least, have endeavoured to show, that all these phenomena, wbich are commonly ascribed to many distinct faculties, are truly refer. able only to two-the capacity of simple suggestion, which gives to us conceptions of external objects formerly perceived, and of all the variety of our past internal feelings, as mere conceptions, or fainter images of the past; and the capacity of relative suggestion, by which the objects of our perception or conception, that are themselves separate, no longer appear to us separate, but are
instantly invested by us with various relations that seem to bind them to each other, as if our mind could give its own unity to the innumerable objects which it comprehends, and, like that mighty Spirit which once hovered over the confusion of unformed nature, convert into a universe what was only chaos before.
We have a capacity of conceiving objects,-a capacity of feeling the relations of objects, and to those capacities all that is intellectual in our nature is reducible. In treating of the phenomena of these two powers, I have not merely examined them, as I would have done if no previous arrangements of the same phenomena had been made by philosophers, but I have examined, afterwards, those arrangements also; not omitting, as far as I know, any one of the faculties of which those writers speak. If it has appeared, therefore, in this review, that the distinctions which they have made have been founded on errors, which we have been able to trace; and that the faculties of which they speak are all, not merely reducible, but easily reducible, to the two classes of the intellectual phenomena, which I have ventured to form,—this coincidence, or facility of corresponding reduction, must be allowed to furnish a very powerful argument in support of my arrangement, since the authors who have formed systems essentially different, cannot be supposed to have accommodated the phenomena of which they treated to a system which was not their own; though a theorist himself may, in some cases, perhaps with reason, be suspected of an intentional accommodation of this sort, for the honour of his system, and in many more cases, without any intention of distorting a single fact, or omitting a single circumstance unfavourable to his own opinions, may, by the influence of those opinions, as a more habitual form of his thoughts, perceive everything, in a stronger light, which coincides with them, and scarcely perceive those objects with which they do not barmonize.
That two simple capacities of the mind should be sufficient to explain all the variety of intellectual phenomena, which distinguish man from man, in every tribe of savage and civilized life, may indeed seem wonderful. But of such wonders, all science is nothing more than the developement-reducing, and bringing as it were, under a single glance, the innumerable objects that seemed to mock by their infinity, the very attempt of minute arrangement. The splendid profusion of apparent diversities, in that earth which we inhabit, are reduced by us chemically, to a few elements, that in their separate classes, are all similar to' each other. The motions, which it would be vain for us to think of numbering, of every mass, and of every particle of every mass, have been reduced to a few laws of motion still more simple'; and if we regard the universe itself in the noblest light in which it can be viewed that which connects it with its Omnipotent Creator,-its whole infinity of wonders are to be considered as the effect but of one simple volition. At the will of God, the world arose, and when it arose, what innumerable relations were present, as it were, and involved in that creative will; the feeling of a single instant comprehending at once, what was afterwards to occupy and to fill, the whole immensity of space, and the whole eternity of time!